(Mirror Daily, United States) – The Drug Enforcement Administration recently announced that it refuses to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug. A spokesperson for the federal agency said Thursday that cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”
In other words, the substance will remain in the Schedule 1 range just like heroin, LSD, Ecstasy and other highly-addictive substances.
Marijuana supporters have lobbied the federal agency into reconsidering pot’s designation for the sake of research. The agency replied that its latest decision was spurred by “scientific and medical evaluation” performed by FDA researchers.
DEA explained that to this date the only valid way of assessing the medical benefits of marijuana is through FDA-approved clinical trials conducted under investigational new drug programs. Pot advocates replied that scientists cannot be unbiased when researching the benefits of the substance because if they want funds they’ll have to get approval from the DEA, FDA, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) first.
Furthermore, pot researchers need to get the plant from the only research-grade cannabis grower in the nation since 1968: the University of Mississippi.
Medical pot backers claim that science has been “shackled” by political forces for decades since trials need NIDA’s and FDA’s approval first.
In response to criticism, the DEA pledged to allow more institutional pot growers to grow the plant for FDA-authorized research. Nevertheless, the agency will exert a tight control on the new growers.
Marijuana supporters were pleased with the decision. They believe that the DEA’s recent involvement could open the way to high-quality cannabis research which could produce pot-based drugs over the next 10 years.
The federal agency said that it has never been against cannabis research as long as researchers get an authorization from the FDA first and use only plants that are NIDA-approved
Early this summer, DEA had applications from 483 researchers interested in studying various Schedule I controlled substances including cannabis. The DEA also promised to be more committed to streamlining pot research in the country.
In spring, the agency approved a study on the benefits of pot in treating military veterans’ PTSD symptoms. Federal investigators said that it is the first study of its kind in the entire U.S.
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